Austin named best city for job growth, technology

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and Photojournalist CHRIS SHADROCK

kvue.com

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 8:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 9:00 PM

AUSTIN -- Austin is getting recognition again, this time for being a model for other cities across the nation.

A new report by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank, ranks the Austin metro area the best performing city when it comes to job creation, vitality and being a place where young professionals are thriving.

Josh Blaine visited Austin two years ago and never left.

He quickly found a job as manager of the new Ingredients grocery in East Austin.

“By the time I was here for six months, I was almost like a veteran in certain circles, which was totally ridiculous to me, but it really brought to my attention how many people move here, how many were coming to Austin regularly,” Blaine said. “Since moving here, I've realized this is the place to be, and everybody wants to be here, and that's where a lot of the growth comes from.”

Economic consultant Angelos Angelou has spent the past 30 years watching the Capital City change.

“The population of the region when I moved to Austin was 560,000 people. We're now just shy of 2 million,” Angelou said.

He said he with the Milken Report, which says technology and entreprenureship are what's driving the success.

“There are not as many communities like Austin that empower young people in entreprenureship, and that is really the future of our city,” Angelou said.

Milken's ranking is based on data from both long- and short-term growth in jobs, wages, salaries and technological output.

The report says Austin has the 13th highest concentration of technology output in the nation.

It also says the metro area is "extremely business-friendly with a low tax, low regulation environment that makes it attractive to out-of-state firms."

“Apple Computer is going to become, in the next five years, our largest employer here,” Angelou said. “You know, we have a strong semi-conductor base, whether it's Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices or Samsung. Those companies provide a substantial tax base to our city.”

Google, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable are also thriving in Austin along with a growing list of homegrown businesses.

And they're all bringing thousands of young professionals to the area.

"They buy real estate. They buy homes. They rent apartments. They shop. So, they contribute to the tax base of the city either via property taxes or sales tax,” Angelou said. “So, that is what has kept our cost of government reasonably down."

Angelou said cities like Detroit, which was once a manufacturing mecc,a is a good example of how cities can go bust. But he also said he doesn't expect the growth in the Austin metro area to slow down for at least quite a while.

 

 

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